Letters to Marie #1 [On Dreaming a Marathon]

Dear Marie,

First things first, I like to thank you for reaching out to me on social media. I find it strange and amazing how people could still connect in the digital age due to social media and the Internet. Even though I have been. A Netizen for close to two decades now as I am what you would consider an earlier adopter of technology, and I recall that an hour of internet usage was at an astronomical 60-100 pesos an hour, I could say that it feels good to connect to people.

Second, dreaming of doing a marathon is always a good thing for whatever reasons you may have.
For some it is all about the bucket list. But before you embark on a new adventure of training for a full marathon, the first thing that I always tell people is get a physical fitness assessment. Always know what you are getting into. There are cheaper ways of doing a fitness assessment but if you happen to have some sort of medical insurance, I would recommend that you give that path a try first.  I know you mentioned that you have developed a distrust for medical institutions and I know where that is coming from since I also am wary about it too. But getting to know your baseline statistics would give you a better edge and make you enjoy your training experience. I am not a medical doctor to say anything. Though since you mentioned you have lower back pain already, many studies indicate that you are experiencing what most people who work and sit down on an office chair goes through and the main solution to that is… EXERCISE!

Third, pick a marathon and do your research about it.
I’ve noticed that many people here just sign up because other friends sign up but when it comes to understanding the marathon distance, the race route and the weather conditions, they seem to be ill-prepared for it. So once you have selected your marathon that you want to sign up for, find out what’s the cutoff time.  If the race has a cutoff time of 6 hours, will this be enough for you? What will your target time be? That’s the follow up question because your target time to completion would determine the amount of training, the training mileage and yes…even the amount of sleep that you will be getting in the next couple of months building up towards the marathon event.

Fourth, keep a marathon journal.
 There are many ways to do this. One, download a GPS running app that could monitor your runs.  I recall you mentioned that you have unlimited data Internet. You could opt to use the NIKE Running app. It’s one of my favorite running apps as it is by far the most developed, the easiest to utilize and even has social media integration which means that it acts like its own Facebook of sorts where you could add friends who are also logged into it, monitor and encourage other friends and check to see what their goals are. It even monitors elevation gain as long as your smartphone has a GPS, gyroscope and a barometer. You could also opt for the traditional pen and paper approach to monitoring your progress and your run. Yet since you have the necessary resources of social media and a smartphone at your disposal, I would encourage you to make full use of it.

Fifth, time to check your running gear for training
. How old is your current running shoes? If it is more than a year old, chances are you really need to get a new one even if you hardly ever used them for running outside. The composite of rubber and plastic in running shoes wear overtime along with its adhesive regardless of the shoes being worn or not. Hence, that old pair of running shoes may just cause you unnecessary foot injuries.  But if you can’t spare to get a new pair of running shoes, just go out and run with your old pair. Another rule of thumb of mine is if I experience foot pain after a week of running with the same pair of shoes, then it means that the shoe is not meant for me regardless if it is a shoe I haven’t worn in awhile or if it is a brand new pair, I always find it easier to get advice from a specialist on podiatric sports medicine.

So there you have it!  Time to lace up and run and all the best!

Our next topic is figuring out the best time to train for your run!
– TR 

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